- MARQUEZ HOPES TO BAFFLE FOES SUNDAY
- BEJARANO GOES FOR BUENA VISTA ‘GOLD’
- STEVENS HITS NORTH AMERICAN MILESTONE
ALFREDO MARQUEZ CONTINUES FAMILY LEGACY
If there’s a nicer guy in racing that nobody ever heard of, it’s Alfredo Marquez.
The third-generation horseman, who turns 67 on Feb. 28, only has seven horses in training but has won with three of them this meet, not to mention one second and one third. Even though he’s had greater numbers, the personable Marquez is content with siete.
One of the seven, recent claim Hot Lightning, runs in Sunday’s $75,000 Baffle Stakes for 3-year-olds at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
“I claimed him for $30,000 at Del Mar last November,” Marquez said. “He’s a beautiful animal.”
A California-bred son of Stormin Fever, Hot Lightning returned dividends pronto, running second in a $50,000 maiden claimer despite a slow start and winning next out at the same level, going 5 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita on Jan. 17.
Obviously, this is not Marquez’s first rodeo. Among his past stakes winners are Irguns Angel (winner of the 2002 A Gleam Invitational at Hollywood Park under Eddie Delahoussaye) and Tali’sluckybusride (winner of the 2001 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita under Jose Valdivia Jr.). Both horses were owned by Ron and Susan Anson. Marquez also won the 1989 Bay Meadows Derby with Irish.
“I was at Caliente years ago when the track burned down and then I went up north with Bob Hess Sr.,” Marquez said. “I came back and worked with Ted West for a year. Caliente reopened in 1974 so I went back, and was there most of my life–all my life, as a matter of fact.
“So was my grandfather, my dad, and my brother, Saul, as well.” Saul is the “silks man” in the Santa Anita jockeys’ room, responsible for having the proper silks or colors sorted and ready for riders to wear in each race.
“Racing is a passion for the whole family,” Marquez said. “As for me, I don’t want to do anything else. I enjoy it every single day, and seven horses is just right. I’m not looking for more. I had plenty more before, but the small stable I have now is perfect.”
The Baffle: Diamond Majesty, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Bench Warrant, Tyler Baze, 5-2; Tizcano, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Serbian Syclone, Elvis Trujillo, 4-1; Pain and Misery, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Jazzy Josh, Corey Nakatani, 7-2; Hot Lightning, Edwin Maldonado, 30-1; Not Enough Eddie, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; and No Problem, Victor Espinoza, 7-2.
NASHOBA’S GOLD SET FOR PRESIDENTS’ DAY FEATURE
With Joe Talamo committed to ride War Story in Monday’s Southwest Stakes at the Fair Grounds, Rafael Bejarano picked up the mount on Nashoba’s Gold in the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita on Presidents’ Day.
Talamo had ridden Nashoba’s Gold in all of her six career starts, winning three, including the Grade II Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita last May 4. Unfortunately for Joe, Tom Amoss, trainer of War Story, called an audible and will not run in the Southwest, leaving Talamo between a rock and a hard place.
Bejarano, currently comfortably atop Santa Anita’s jockey standings, was impressed when he worked Nashoba’s Gold three furlongs on turf Thursday in 36 seconds.
“She went well; I think she’s ready for the race,” Bejarano said of the 4-year-old gray daughter of Smart Strike, trained by Carla Gaines for owner/breeder Warren Williamson.
The field for the Buena Vista: La Tia, Joel Rosario, 5-2; Winning Rhythm, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Diversy Harbor, Gary Stevens, 3-1; Blingismything, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1; Nashoba’s Gold, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Annecdote, Victor Espinoza, 3-1; and Uzziel, Fernando Perez, 20-1.
Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita. Fans can enjoy draft beers, hot dogs and sodas for just a buck. First post time is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.
FINISH LINES: In conjunction with the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 7 restoring its purse to $1 million, Santa Anita will guarantee the Late Pick 4 pool that day at $1 million, a legendary bet for a legendary race. The Pick 6 pool will be guaranteed at $250,000 . . .Congratulations to Gary Stevens on registering career win No. 5,000 in North America yesterday aboard Catch a Flight for Richard Mandella in the fourth race. “It’s very special,” Stevens said after the milestone victory. “The owners and the trainers have been nice enough to put me on all these good horses through the years. It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and obviously I love it or I wouldn’t be out here.” Mandella noted that the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap could be next for Argentine-bred Catch a Flight . . . Legendary Hall of Fame jockey Johnny Longden, who retired as the world’s winningest jockey with 6,032 following his victory aboard George Royal in the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap on March 12, 1966, would have been 108 years of age today, Valentine’s Day.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, Feb. 13)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||119||14||15||17||12%||$781,086|
|A. C. Avila||18||5||0||2||28%||$107,524|